It’s a CARNIVAL, Jim, but not as we know it!
Posted on January 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm by Dr. Jim
Yes, it’s that time of the month again! (Oops, did I say something wrong?). Its the blogging carnival for the Bible Bloggers!
And what a month it was, what with all sorts of holidays! Of course, there was Hanukkah, Chanukah or whatever you call it. And also Christmas or the “unmentionable” holiday or whatever you call THAT, And New Years eve, or Hogmanay, or whatever the Scots call it! Now, Kwanzaa might come but once a year, but the Carnival is every darn month, as if there is always something more to say about the Bible, let’s do something different. Instead of talking about peace on Earth, good will to non-gendered persons, lets get down to brass tacks, shall wee?
“Take it from me, whenever you see a bunch of buggers puttering around talking about truth and beauty and the best way of attacking Ethics, you can bet your sandals it’s all because dozens of other poor buggers are doing all the real work around the place.” – (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)
So this time around, lets give another can
non a shot, and recognize some other festivities too. And let’s not forget that DECEMBER 32 WAS HOGSWATCHNIGHT (or, for all you loyal Omnians out there, the Fast of St Ossory)
And for the uninitiated, what is Hogswatchnight? It is last night of the year on the Discworld, that rather silly (and very realistic, scientifically speaking, I’m being metaphorical) place in space riding through the cosmos on four giant elephants which are standing on an even colossal turtle. C’mon, you guys do read your Terry Pratchett, don’t you? You don’t?
HEATHENS! Jim West cronies!
Well, here is the official synopsis of the book:
Susan had never hung up a stocking . She’d never put a tooth under her pillow in the serious expectation that a dentally inclined fairy would turn up. It wasn’t that her parents didn’t believe in such things. They didn’t need to believe in them. They know they existed. They just wished they didn’t.
There are those who believe and those who don’t. Through the ages, superstition has had its uses. Nowhere more so than in the Discworld where it’s helped to maintain the status quo. Anything that undermines superstition has to be viewed with some caution. There may be consequences, particularly on the last night of the year when the time is turning. When those consequences turn out to be the end of the world, you need to be prepared. You might even want more standing between you and oblivion than a mere slip of a girl – even if she has looked Death in the face on numerous occasions…
Ah yes, the end of the world. It didn’t happen twice in 2011, and it won’t happen a few more times in 2012!
But back to the carnival. Or more accurately (queue the dramatic music), the PREAMBLE to the Carnival. I probably didn’t advertise it enough, but I didn’t get too many people emailing with suggestions (thanks to those who did!) so I spent hours looking for good stuff (and found it) Alas. And so the theme might not seem appropriate to you, but I don’t care.
So, where were we? Oh yeah, Terry Pratchett, Author of the Scripture, Hack of the Canon (and so forth). So, here is the scriptural reason why this carnival will just be another great glorious hodge bodge with no particular order, rhyme or reason, and with not-at-all-forced-or-other-wise-eisegessized-incursions-of-an-artifically-deliberately-created-intertextual-nature with the TRUE SCRIPTURE©®™
And much, much earlier than that, when the Discworld was formed, drifting onwards through space atop four elephants on the shell of the giant turtle, Great A’Tuin.
Possibly, as it moves, it gets tangled like a blind man in a cobwebbed house in those highly specialized little space-time strands that try to breed in every history they encounter, stretching them and breaking them and tugging them into new shapes.
Or possibly not, of course. The philosopher Didactylos has summed up an alternative hypothesis as ‘Things just happen. What the hell.’ (Hogfather)
As you can see, Hogfather is the real inspiration behind Father Christmas. Hogfather travels the disk, and gives presents of pork products to good kids (mmmmm….bacon), and bones to the bad ones and will give good kids their wishes. As reported in the Scriptures, the Hogfather is kidnapped by an evil genius who makes children stop believing in him.
Anyway, Hogfather (and lots of other Pratchett books) feature the character Death who speaks in all-caps, all the time. Death has to take over from Hogfather while Death’s adopted granddaughter, Susan Sto Helit rescues the real one.
Alas, Death starts taking kids’ wishes a little too literally… And all sorts of entities spring into being, including the deity Billious, invoked countless times on Hogsfather Day (i.e., New Year’s Day) by hungover folk chanting “Oh God…” But fantasy is real, isn’t it? Isn’t that what Christmas (Ok, and all other Holy Days) is all about?
“You’re saying humans need … fantasies to make life bearable.”
“NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.”
“Tooth fairies? Hogfathers?”
“YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.”
“So we can believe the big ones?”
“YES. JUSTICE. DUTY. MERCY. THAT SORT OF THING.”
“They’re not the same at all!”
“REALLY? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET YOU ACT, LIKE THERE WAS SOME SORT OF RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.”
“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”
MY POINT EXACTLY. - Susan and Death (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)
Anyway, Here are the best biblioblog posts I and a few other folk could find in December. And some random quotes from a number of Pratchett’s books, all shamelessly ripped off the internet, and remember, the Discworld is the the true seasoning for the reasoning. Hey, things just happen. Sue me.
Ruminations on Biblical Studies
Stories don’t care who takes part in them. All that matters is that the story gets told, that the story repeats. Or, if you prefer to think of it like this: stories are a parasitical life form, warping lives in the service only of the story itself.
It takes a special kind of person to fight back, and become the bicarbonate of history. (Terry and Lyn Pratchett, Witches Abroad)
Jim West has a _______ ing go at Hector Avalos about the end of Biblical Studies, or some other BS (see below).
Philip Davies, on in Bible and Interpretation walked into a B.A.R. article and asked the bartender (Garfinkel) if he could get a round of common sense from the establishment, but alas not, since the bar was hosting a wake for minimalism, and getting around common sense for some time. Deanne Galbraith was artistically moved:
Vridar (Neil Godfrey) wonders why we argue about it anyway. But we’re not going to stop, and neither is he.
What the heck is a bible anyway?
In the second scroll of Wen the Eternally Surprised a story is written concerning one day when the apprentice Clodpool, in a rebellious mood, approached Wen and spake thusly: “Master, what is the difference between a humanistic, monastic system of belief in which wisdom is sought by means of an apparently nonsensical system of questions and answers, and a lot of mystic gibberish made up on the spur of the moment?” Wen considered this for some time, and at last said: “A fish!” And Clodpool went away, satisfied. (Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time)
Chris Brady wonders is Grayling’s Humanist Bible is a Bible at all.
Steve Wiggins offers his usual insightful insights, this time directed towards a column on the importance of the bible.
she was opposed to books on strict moral grounds, since she had heard that many of them were written by dead people and therefore it stood to reason reading them would be as bad as necromancy. Among the many things in the infinitely varied universe with which Granny did not hold was talking to dead people, who by all accounts had enough troubles of their own (Equal Rites).
Bible and History
Kol Haadam lists all the books named in the Hebrew Bible in suggesting that the statement “the Bible has no history” depends on a rather narrow understanding of “history”.
These aren’t books in which the events of the past are pinned like so many butterflies to a cork. These are the books from which history is derived. There are more than twenty thousand of them; each one is ten feet high, bound in lead, and the letters are so small that they have to be read with a magnifying glass.
When people say “It is written . . .” it is written here.
There are fewer metaphors around than people think.(Small Gods)
Chris Heard of a way to Type Hebrew vowels on iPadHebrew and Aramaic
Basically, it was p’ch’zarni’chiwkov. This epiglottis-throttling word is seldom used on the Disc except by highly-paid stunt linguists and, of course, the tiny tribe of the K’turni, who invented it. It has no direct synonym, although the Cumhoolie word “squernt” (‘the feeling upon finding that the previous occupant of the privy has used all the paper’) begins to approach it in general depth of feeling. The closest translation is as follows:
the nasty little sound of a sword being unsheathed right behind one at just the point when one thought one had disposed of one’s enemies
—although K’tumi speakers say that this does not convey the cold sweating, heart-stopping, gut-freezing sense of the original. (Equal Rites)
David Black of Jesus Paradigm lists his ten fave books on studying Greek.
Biblical Studies and technological Tools is pretty useful, especially when it comes to Searching for Greek Roots in Accordance, BibleWorks, and Logos and Searching for Greek Semantic Domains Using Louw-Nida in Accordance, BibleWorks, and Logos
Bible Translations and Translating
After four years of theological college he wasn’t at all certain of what he believed, and this was partly because the Church had schismed so often that occasionally the entire curriculum would alter in the space of one afternoon. But also—
They had been warned about it. Don’t expect it, they’d said. It doesn’t happen to anyone except the prophets. Om doesn’t work like that. Om works from inside.
—but he’d hoped that, just once, that Om would make himself known in some obvious and unequivocal way that couldn’t be mistaken for wind or a guilty conscience. Just once, he’d like the clouds to part for the space of ten seconds and a voice to cry out, “YES, MIGHTILY-PRAISEWORTHY-ARE-YE-WHO-EXALTETH-OM OATS! IT’S ALL COMPLETELY TRUE! INCIDENTALLY, THAT WAS A VERY THOUGHTFUL PAPER YOU WROTE ON THE CRISIS OF RELIGION IN A PLURALISTIC SOCIETY!” (Carpe Jugulum)
Suzanne McCarthy posted on the Best Online Bibles
Jim West has been walking the streets of the Intertubes with a sandwich board advertising the Common English Bible throughout the month even giving a few away. He has an interview with Joel Green, finds its rendering of Sirach inspiring, but finds some fault with the CEB in regards to Gen. 1. Nick Norelli also has something to say about the CEB.
Ah, the search for a good, public domain translation! And its a DEATHmatch! (Told you it was Hogswatchnight this month!) Anyway, Better Than Esdras thinks its a deathmatch between the Darby and World English Bible.
Benjamin Shaw at gptsrabbi thinks people should pay more attention to commas, especially in Ephesians 4:11-12.
Isaiah 9:5 in the New American Bible: Revised Edition gets some critique from “Believe, teach, and confess” (Rich Shields). He also takes to task the New Living Translation and Mark 1:4.
Letters received from complete strangers sometimes lead to a discussion on biblical slavery and how to translate some Greek terms, as Deirdre Good, who is not a sausage, found out.
“Slave is an Ephebian word. In Om we have no word for slave,” said Vorbis. “So I understand,” said the Tyrant. “I imagine that fish have no word for water.” — (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)
“Pride is all very well, but a sausage is a sausage.” (Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms)
How Much of the Job Does Your Translation Do? is something Rod Decker wants to know. I assume it is a survey…
Kurk Gayle offers an An analysis of Dow Marmur’s claims that the Bible is untranslatable , and, if you are reggae for it, some ruminations on translatin’ the Bible for the Jamaicans.
Theophrastus spent the 25th remembering feminist scholar Catherine Clark Kroeger and her study Bible. He also offered a A Brief Comment on Tremper Longman III, Mark Strauss and Daniel Taylor’s Expanded Bible.
Michael Samuel offers a post on The Origin of the Septuagint–The World’s First Biblical Translation
“Spirit of God” vs. “Mighty Wind” is the subject of a post by Michael Samuel.
In the Beginning there was nothing, which exploded. — (Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies)
God does not play dice with the universe: He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players,* to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with balcnk cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time. * i.e., everybody. ( Good Omens By Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett)
Theophrastus has some trouble translating shelamim in Levitucus, and so should you.
‘Where I come from priests are holy men who have dedicated themselves to lives of poverty, good works and the study of the nature of God.’
Rincewind considered this novel proposition.
‘No sacrifices?’ he said.
Rincewind gave up. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘they don’t sound very holy to me.’
Chuck Grantham has notes from the Ancient Biblical Commentary series
Numbers Chapter 9:1-11, 15-19 Antique Commentary Quotes
Numbers Chapter 13:26-28, 31; 14:6-9, 17-23 Antique Commentary Quotes
Numbers 24:17; Matthew 1:16-21; 2:1; 2:7-11 Antique Commentary Quotes
Numbers 22:4-6,31-35; 23:19-23 Antique Commentary Quotes
Fat Eglon is the subject (tub-ject?) of posted paper by James Aitken on Academica.edu
Remnants of Giants muses on whether Goliath was hit in the head or somewhat lower. But not there.
“The point is that descriptive writing is very rarely entirely accurate and during the reign of Olaf Quimby II as Patrician of Ankh some legislation was passed in a determined attempt to put a stop to this sort of thing and introduce some honesty into reporting. Thus, if a legend said of a notable here that “all men spoke of his prowess” any bard who valued his life would add hastily “except for a couple of people in his home village who thought he was a liar, and quite a lot of other people who had never really heard of him.” (Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic).
Jim West is punny at least when it comes to Isaiah 57.
This one could go under “translations”, Christmas, or other places, but here it is: Jim West looks at Common English Bible’s rendering of almah (young girl) in Isaiah 7:14.
Gods die, and J. Z. Smith should get over it, thinks D. O. McCLellan.
Bob McDonald at Poetry of Christ continues his series on Psalms study. Of the numerous ones this month, take a look at what he does with Psalm 110.
The prayers of most religions generally praise and thank the gods involved, either out of general piety or in the hope that he or she will take the hint and start acting responsibly. The Tezumen, having taken a long hard look around their world and decided bluntly that things were just about as bad as they were ever going to get, had perfected the art of the plain-chant winge. (Eric)
Kurk Gayle and Theophrastus offer four posts on the literary qualities of Greek and Hebrew Esther: Esther translations, An open window onto the Jewish Bible The Literary Merits of Hebrew Esther/ Esthers on the rag: A Change will do the Jews Good
Tom Verenna: Memes killed Kenny and history and fiction and so we all believed it, just like the Gospels.
Joel Watts: The Gospels were not memes, except maybe Matthew.
Tom Verenna: Oh yes they were!
Humans! They lived in a world where the grass continued to be green and the sun rose every day and flowers regularly turned into fruit, and what impressed them? Weeping statues. And wine made out of water!… As if the turning of sunlight into wine, by means of vines and grapes and time and enzymes, wasn’t a thousand times more impressive and happened all the time…
According to Kurk Gayle, there are Jewish Voices in Matt. 7.
Brian LePort FINALLY got around to writing on The “delayed parousia” of Mark 13.
They thought you could see life through books but you couldn’t, the reason being that the words got in the way (Carpe Jugulum)
NJ Gupta needs some help with his commentary on the epistle.
Who is Paul addressing in Rom. 2.17? asks Rafael from Verily Verily.
Joel Watts posts a paper on Romans that looks all academic, footy-notey and everything! Which must really tick Jim West off. Heck, Joel even learned something before he wrote it!
Joel got academic again: Ephesians 2.11-22 – The Destruction of the Temple, Theomachy, Necessity of the Gentile Mission
“Chain letters,” said the Tyrant. “The Chain Letter to the Ephebians. Forget Your Gods. Be Subjugated. Learn to Fear. Do not break the chain — the last people who did woke up one morning to find fifty thousand armed men on their lawn.” — (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)
Rod Decker has been thinking about Heb 2:5
Brian Small has a bibliography of this past year’s articles on Hebrews.
The question seldom addressed is where Medusa had snakes. Underarm hair is an even more embarassing problem when it keeps biting the top of the deodorant bottle.– (Terry Pratchett, Soul Music)
The wages of sin is death but so is the salary of virtue, and at least the evil get to go home early on Fridays (Witches Abroad)
David Stark on Irenaeus on 666 and 616
The gods of the Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if that’s where they believe, in their deepest heart, that they deserve to go. Which they won’t do if they don’t know about it. This explains why it is so important to shoot missionaries on sight. — (Terry Pratchett, Eric)
Early Common Era Texts
Acts of Mar Mari the Apostle are acted upon (but not marred) by Rebecca at The Primary Word.
…as is generally the case around the time a prophet is expected, the Church redoubled its efforts to be holy. This was very much like the bustle you get in any large concern when the auditors are expected, but tended towards taking people suspected of being less holy and putting them to death in a hundred ingenious ways. This is considered a reliable barometer of the state of one’s piety in most of the really popular religions. There’s a tendency to declare that there’s more backsliding around than in the national toboggan championships, that heresy must be torn out root and branch, and even arm and leg and eye and tongue, and that it’s time to wipe the slate clean. Blood is generally considered very efficient for this purpose. (Small Gods)
Menachem Mendel was one of the many bloggers to notice the publication of a new Index to the Talmud.
Chuck Grantham shows us How to Use Kindle Bible Books
JonDave Medina at Near Emmaus offers The Answer to Hebrew in Word. Its LaTeX, a typesetting program.
Larry Hurtado at the Christian Origins blog discusses some issues about Jesus’ Galilee
Richard Fellows examines the rather generous Gaius Titius Justus and his new name, Stephanas
Junia was the subject of a whole series of articles by Suzanne McCarthy and Kurk Gayle: junia-
“There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment about the nature of sin, for example.”
“And what do they think? Against it, are they?”
“It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”
“There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”
“It’s a lot more complicated than that—”
“No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they are getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”
“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes—”
“But they starts with thinking about people as things . . .” (Carpe Jugulum)
Christianity in General
“The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret” (Terry Pratchett, The Truth)
Storied Theology’s post on how foundational the doctrine of the trinity is to Christianity was a favourite of one Carnival sender-inner. The same sender-inner also liked Reformation 21’s (Gabriel Fluhrer) comments on not striving to be a great preacher.
Ancient Near East
Charles Halton at Awilum has a post on taking ANE texts as they are are, not as extenstion of the biblical world, and makes some other recommendations for biblical scholars using that material. The Abnormally Interesting Duane Smith also adds his $.02 worth.
Too many people, when listing all the perils to be found in the search for lost treasure or ancient wisdom, had forgotten to put at the top of the list ‘the man who arrived just before you’. (Terry Pratchett, The Last Hero)
City of David Floor
Posts that are Pure to Yah
This is very similar to the suggestion put forward by the Quirmian philosopher Ventre, who said, “Possibly the gods exist, and possibly they do not. So why not believe in them in any case? If it’s all true you’ll go to a lovely place when you die, and if it isn’t then you’ve lost nothing, right?” When he died he woke up in a circle of gods holding nasty-looking sticks and one of them said, “We’re going to show you what we think of Mr Clever Dick in these parts…” — (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)
A late second temple period seal that some think was intended to mark items as pure for ritual services has turned up and Heavenly Ascents was one of the blogs blogging it. Helek Tovel did too. James Davila linked to four news reports Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Arutz Svheva and Associated Pressand posted some high resolution photos on the 25th.
George Athas, who claims to work only With Meagre Powers writes may have actually been a currency exchange token.
And in Dutch, JP van Glessen offers his own interpretation based on Psalm 90.
Loads of ANE Texts: http://oldtestamentpassion.blogspot.com/
Jim West also highlighted a Facebook page with scads of photos by University of Tel Aviv folks on Tel Lachish, Khirbet Qeiyafa and Tel Zarit (Gath).
Pseudo-Archaeology & Pseudo-Epigraphy
Jesus Christ, Simcha got Nailed! says Jim West
A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on. (Terry Pratchett, The Truth)
Tear it to Shrouds! News that the Turin Shroud is authentic (at least according to some) made some bloggy waves. Old Testament Passion post on how the image was made with
Octarine Ultraviolet Lasers. But Jim West still thinks it’s fake and Joel Watts is likely to agree, although not publicly. And for those who don’t care to know, according to Terry Pratchett, Octarine is the colour of magic. And it’s much nicer than infra-black.
Bible TV and Movies
“Actors,” said Granny, witheringly. “As if the world weren’t full of enough history without inventing more.” (Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters)
Bible Sex and Queeriness
“Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It’s the difference between using a feather and using a chicken.” (Terry Pratchett, Eric)
Paul opposed Roman (bisexual) norms, not gay marriage according to Richard Fellows.
BW 16 had a queery about Mary, conceiving sexlessly and all, with another picture that many might find interesting.
- “Sodomy non sapiens,” said Albert under his breath.
- “What does that mean?”
- “Means I’m buggered if I know.” (Terry Pratchett, Mort)
Education and Pedegogy
The Bible World has some advice for those thinking of PhDs. And, of course, so does Terry.
Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street-cleansing, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact. — (Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures)
Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on. — (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)
Claude Mariottini’s popular blog has a new URL: http://claudemariottini.com/
Congratulations to Emanuel Pfoh on his new PhD! Trust Jim West to keep us all informed of various bits of news in the Bible scholarship front.
Simcha Jacobovici is suing Joe Zias over allegedly getting a TV station to not broadcast a show. Jim West posted the news, Bob Cargill made a very long comment which Jim elevated to a new post status.
Biblical Studies Journal Alerts (Danny Zacharias) keeps us all alert to journals of Biblical Studies
Nathan Eubank at Duke Newts posted a summary of, and a link to a recent article of his on Almsgiving in 1 Timothy.
Lawrence Shiffman has an intro to the Dead Sea Scrolls online (hat tip to Jim West)
Michael Langlois is celebrating the release of a book he edited written by Valérie Triplet-Hitoto: Mysteries and Hidden Knowledge at Qumran: Dt 29:28 in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls
A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.
– (Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!)
Jim West reviews Jesus and the Land: the New Testament Challenge to Holy Land Theology (Gary M. Burge)
Jim West reviews Gerd Theissen’s The New Testametn: A Literary History
Claude Mariottini posts his comments on Israel: Ancient Kingdom or Late Invention? (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2008), edited by Daniel Block
Larry Tanner continues his series on James’ Kugel’s How to Read the Bible.
“But you read a lot of books, I’m thinking. Hard to have faith, ain’t it, when you’ve read too many books?” (Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum)
Marc Zvi Brettler and Amy Jill Levine, editors, Jewish Annotated New Testament caused a bit of traffic. Not really a book review, but Rachel Barenblat,the Velveteen Rabbi, posted some comments on a talk by the editors. See the comments in Italian on the book at Ta Biblia. Brian LePort has a multipart review with photos of select page so you can see how it is laid out. Go here, here, here.
Jesus Have I loved, but Paul? by J. R. Daniel Kirk is discussed at a number of blogs, including the Biblical World where you will also get some video of Kirk, but not doing anything scandalous. Brian LePort has also reviewed it.
Chris Tilling reviews David Moffitt’s Atonement and the Logic of Resurrection in the Epistle to the Hebrews
James McGrath read a book this past month and wants to tell you about it. Review of John Walton, Genesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology
Jesus among friends and enemies (Chris Keith and Larry Hurtado eds.) got some notice. NJ Gupta provides of review of some length.
The Audio Greek New Testament performed by John Scwandt Review, Pt. 1 and The Audio Greek New Testament: Review, Pt. 2 is reviewed by Michael Halcomb
Joel Watts has Review: Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology @Kregelbooks I take it he read it.
A number of religions in Ankh-Morpork still practiced human sacrifice, except that they didn’t really need to practice any more because they had got so good at it.
– (Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!)
Iconic Religion and Ritual by Kenny Paul Smith reflects on other-than-Christmas rituals at Christmas time at Religion Bulletin.
The Advent of Advent, by Ben Witherington III
Sol Invictus was a looser. Just ask Judith Weingarten, Jesus won. He was there first.
Some odd Dutch customs get racially and wikipedially scrutinized by J. K. Gayle.
Storied Theology has some insights into Christmas peace.
“That’s blasphemy,” said the vampire.
He gasped as Vimes shot him a glance like sunlight. ”That’s what people say when the voiceless speak.” (Feet of Clay)
Bible and Science
James McGrath posts a lot on science and anti-science, and the creationists caught their fair share of his wrath this month. One of his posts are worth mentioning here: An Example of How Answers in Genesis Does Violence to the Bible, and Not Just Science. And here too, with his own cartoon, denouncing the idea a spherical bible.
Our Matrix explorer also go a few digs in on the anti-reality crowd with a playful dialogue by commenter Darren Pardee . Oh, I feel a Pratchett coming on!
SCIENCE: A way of finding things out and then making them work. Science
explains what is happening around us the whole time. So does RELIGION, but
science is better because it comes up with more understandable excuses when
it is wrong. There is a lot more Science than you think.
— From A Scientific Encyclopedia for the Enquiring Young Nome
by Angalo de Haberdasheri
(Terry Pratchett, Wings)
The Historical Jesus or the Hysterical Jebus.
Was there a historical Jesus? I don’t know but James McGrath had only a little to say about the subect, mostly in terms of Neil Godfrey’s take onPaul-Louis Couchoud Neil, however, had a lot more, for example here.
The Divine Jesus?
“They always gives me bath salts,” complained Nobby. “And bath soap and bubble bath and herbal bath lumps and tons of bath stuff and I can’t think why, ’cos it’s not as if I hardly ever has a bath. You’d think they’d take the hint, wouldn’t you?” (Hogfather)
General Oddities and Soddities
Jim West is so full of B. S. (Biblical Studies) he mistakes normal people abbreviations for Biblical Studies ones!
Sects and Violence has traces the history of tebowing (whatever the hell that is) to the ancient Near East.
Sadly Christopher Hitchens died and there was a lot of comments on that. Unreasonable Faith highlighted some of the ignorant ones. James McGrath linked to some of the more appreciative ones and the new internet sensation, Coffee with Jesus:
People said there had to be a Supreme Being because otherwise how could the universe exist, eh?
And of course there clearly had to be, said Koomi, a Supreme Being. But since the universe was a bit of a mess, it was obvious that the Supreme Being hadn’t in fact made it. If he had made it he would, being Supreme, have made a much better job of it, with far better thought given, taking an example at random, to things like the design of the common nostril. Or, to put it another way, the existence of a badly put-together watch proved the existence of a blind watchmaker. You only had to look around to see that there was room for improvement practically everywhere.
This suggested that the Universe had probably been put together in a bit of a rush by an underling while the Supreme Being wasn’t looking, in the same way that Boy Scouts’ Association minutes are done on office photocopiers all over the country. (Small Gods)
WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR HOGSWATCH? said the Hogfather hurriedly.
Mother took her economic cue again, and said briskly: “She wants a—”
The Hogfather snapped his fingers impatiently. The mother’s mouth slammed shut.
The child seemed to sense that here was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and spoke quickly.
“I wanta narmy. Anna big castle wif pointy bits,” said the child. “Anna swored.”
WHAT DO YOU SAY? prompted the Hogfather.
“A big swored?” said the child, after a pause for deep cogitation.
THAT’S RIGHT. [...]“You can’t give her that!” she screamed. “It’s not safe!”
IT’S A SWORD, said the Hogfather. THEY’RE NOT MEANT TO BE SAFE.
“She’s a child!” shouted Crumley.
“What if she cuts herself?”
THAT WILL BE AN IMPORTANT LESSON. (Hogfather)
Humans, eh? Think they’re lords of creation. Not like us cats. We know we are. Ever see a cat feed a human? Case proven. (Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents)
The smith pushed the baby back into the arms of the frantic midwife. Then, as respectfully as possible he unpried the thin, pale fingers from the staff… She twitched aside a fold of the blanket. The smith looked down, and swallowed. … “But he said it would be a son!” …
“What have I done?” he moaned. “
You’ve given the world its first female wizzard, said the midwife. “Whosa itsywitsy, den?”
“I was talking to the baby.” (Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites)